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Kinship North: Program moves to Evergreen House

The local Kinship North program has a new home.

The mentoring program is now part of Evergreen House, a Bemidji nonprofit organization that focuses on strengthening youth and preserving families.

Kinship North was previously part of another Bemidji nonprofit organization, Healthy Community Healthy Kids, which dissolved at the end of 2008 because of lack of funding.

Kinship North's move to Evergreen House took effect early this month, said Becky Schueller, executive director of Evergreen House.

"It was largely possible thanks to a grant from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation," she said.

Schueller said the grant allowed Evergreen House to take over Kinship North with confidence that it can continue the program for a period of time.

"We didn't want to take the program only to close it," she said.

Schueller said there is still some money that needs to be raised for the program for 2010.

"Kinship is a great program and it's very important that youth in our community have strong connections to caring adults," she said.

Kari Glime, program coordinator for Kinship North in Bemidji, said it is a national mentoring program that finds volunteer adult mentors to work with children ages 5-15.

The Bemidji program currently has 20 matches, and there is a need for more adults to serve as mentors, she said.

"We have kids who are waiting for mentors," said Glime, noting that Kinship North is looking for both male and female mentors to match with children on its waiting list.

The mission of Kinship North, she said, is to improve the lives of children by helping them establish relationships with adult mentors who offer stability, asset building, enrichment, support and friendship.

"It's a one-year commitment," said Glime, noting that mentors spend time with their Kinship Kid once a week.

Kinship North is now located at Evergreen House's Evergreen Community Services at 1418 Bemidji Ave. N. The program's new phone is 751-8223.

At the beginning of this year, Evergreen House took over the Suicide Prevention Program, another program of Healthy Community Healthy Kids.

The Evergreen House Board of Directors also decided to take over the fiscal agent role from Healthy Community Healthy Kids for the Bemidji Skate and Bike Association. Evergreen House had previously served as the fiscal agent for the association.